What is Quarter Midget Racing?
Quarter Midget Racing is an automotive racing sport for children between the ages of five and seventeen years old that has been around since the 1950’s. Quarter Midget Racing associations are organized into local regions and ran by volunteers associated with these local tracks. Three sanctioning bodies oversee this sport within the United States which include POWRi Quarter Midget Racing League, USAC .25, and Quarter Midgets of America. Your sanctioning body will depend on the membership of your local track. Each sanctioning body is similar in operation and their safety and technical regulations. All three provide insurance for their members as well as top notch safety at their tracks and facilities. Modeled after a full sized midget race car the Quarter Midget is approximately ¼ of the size, hence the name. All current Quarter Midgets run air-cooled, four-cycled, single-cylinder Honda or Briggs & Stratton engines. Or less commonly there are also Deco/Continental engine platforms in some areas. There are numerous chassis manufacturers and engine builders across the country. Basic setup and car maintenance will be the same regardless of chassis and engine, however they do make a difference in performance. Different engine and chassis combinations
may require different processes and modifications in order to maintain that competitive edge. Quarter Midgets cars are direct drive, thus having no clutch, and must be pushed to start. Both the car and the engine must meet the safety and technical regulations of the track’s sanctioning body in order to participate at an event.
Safety features on a Quarter Midget include full roll cages, ⅚ point harness systems, full-face helmets, fire retardant race suits and gloves, and many others. The safety of drivers, crews, and spectators is always the highest priority. Quarter Midget tracks are all approximately a 1/20 of a mile oval which may be asphalt, concrete, or dirt depending on the location. Tracks may also be banked or flat surfaces. Each track provides its own challenges to drivers and crew chiefs alike. In order to gain experience
and expertise as a driver and crew, it is encouraged that you travel and experience different tracks. This will not only expand your knowledge on different tracks and their required setups, but you will make great family memories along the way.
What to Expect:
Quarter Midget racing is a very family oriented sport. Dads, moms, grandparents, siblings, and friends can all be found helping at the track as crew chiefs, mechanics, volunteers, and morale boosters. Like any other sport Quarter Midget racing can bring the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, sometimes in the same day. This is a highly competitive sport, and kids will possibly be up against their closest friends on the track. Despite the competitive nature of the sport, it will surely bring you lifelong friends and unforgettable memories with your fellow members at the track. The sport can be daunting for some who haven’t been exposed to the automotive racing world before. The most important thing you can do is to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for
help. Your local club is always there to help in any way they can, just ask! Costs can vary greatly depending on your objectives with the sport. Racing multiple cars at highly competitive regional or national events will obviously require more time, energy, and
money than racing one car at weekly or monthly local events. A new family to the sport can find great used cars and safety gear for between $1,500 – $2,500. And you can always upgrade or expand your equipment after ensuring this sport is the right fit for you and your family.
How to Start:
The best place to start is by visiting your local Quarter Midget track during a scheduled race event. Depending on the size of the local club this can be a great opportunity for you to watch a range of skilled drivers starting in the beginning “Novice” class to very experienced drivers in the more advanced classes. Most clubs offer an Arrive and Drive event at least once a year that provides your child with the opportunity to get behind the wheel to “give racing a try before you buy”. Cars and all the necessary safety equipment are provided for a small fee. The cars used at these events are set up for 1st time drivers. They have accelerator restrictions and accessible kill switches to ensure the safety and comfort of the child and their family. Experienced drivers will be there to help prepare your kid on what to expect on the track. There will also be a brief orientation that will include a variety of information including how your child should enter the track and their permitted amount of laps. This event is a great opportunity to ask the handlers, who are usually the driver’s parent who acts as a crew chief and mechanic, and families questions about Quarter Midget racing or the local track.
If your child won’t leave you alone about Quarter Midget racing after suiting up at the Arrive and drive, you now have a racer on your hands. It’s time to start assembling the pieces of the puzzle that will allow your driver to start training. Those same handlers that you talked to at the Arrive and Drive are a good place to start when looking for a car, engine, safety gear, and advice. Once you have everything you need to get your kid on the track, connect with the club secretary at your local track for membership applications. This membership will give you access to all the training you will need as well as the insurance discussed earlier. Your driver will go through a series of training sessions that will teach the basics for safe operation of the car, understanding race procedures, and track rules. Once your driver has a solid foundation the training director will clear your child to start racing in the beginning Novice class. These races are restricted learning classes for new drivers. Entry into the competitive divisions requires that driver to show a good grasp of the line up procedure, maintaining racing speed on the track, and following the directions of track officials. Training is not only for the driver, but also for the handlers (parents/crew) as well. Some of the things you will learn are race day procedures, car setup, and how to get feedback from your driver. Then once all this is settled, your kid is ready to enter the competitive divisions!
Where to Race:
You can find a Quarter Midget race somewhere just about any weekend of the year. Here in California we have 6 tracks. The California Quarter Midget clubs do have regional point series races that anyone can participate in. Events are hosted by local clubs, regional organizations, and the national sanctioning bodies. Good Times QMRA is currently affiliated with POWRi Quarter Midget Racing League as our sanctioning body. Quarter Midget racers are always welcome to race at any Quarter Midget track across the U.S. and Canada, but make sure to check with the local club for complete track and sanctioning body rules. Most have websites and Facebook pages.